Skip to content

Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day, we celebrate the death of St. Patrick who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle, Ireland. We celebrate this event by parades, wearing of the green and drinking green beer while eating corned beef & cabbage. This day also witnessed one of the first victories of the American patriots against the British in the Battle of Dorchester Heights where Col. Henry Knox performed his seemingly miraculous feat of moving cannons and powder from the captured Fort Ticonderoga to Boston almost overnight. The British, when confronted with these armaments, withdrew from Boston to New York.

The_first_meeting_of_the_Israeli_3rd_government

This was also a day of several naval accomplishments in submarine warfare; the first practical submarine (USS Holland) was launched on this day and the first of a new class (USS Skate) broke through the North Pole’s Ice Pack. It was also the day that saw the launch, by NASA, of the Vanguard 1 solar-powered satellite. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt recognized the effectiveness of investigative journalism by the "Muckrakers" in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C. Finally, this day witnessed the assumption of the position of Prime Minister by Golda Meir in Israel, the first woman in such a position in the world. So, let’s see these events in a little more detail…

History Details…

Irish_cloverOf course, the most notable event of today is the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. How did this become a much-celebrated holiday? By the dispersion, borne of necessity, of the Irish around the world. But a substantial of that number settled in New York City and Boston. This day, the celebration of the death of the fabled saint in 461, St. Patrick, who ministered to the needs of the Irish for three decades in the fifth century. It is said that on this day, everyone is an Irishman!

At the beginning the Revolutionary War, the American patriots set up their lines on the high ground of Dorchester Heights in 1776. The problem, the British not only had greater numbers of trained troops, but they also had artillery. The American troops couldn’t compete with these cannons! One of the leaders of the patriots, in addition to Benedict Arnold, there was Col. Henry Knox who suggested that the cannons at Fort Ticonderoga could be captured and brought back to Cambridge to help the colonist soldiers defend the city of Boston. He led an expedition that easily captured the fort and brought back those cannons and powder to Boston. The British awoke to see lines of cannons facing them. The British would withdraw from Boston to New York City. This was the first victory for the Colonists; the British would defeat General George Washington in the Battle of New York shortly thereafter. The ability of the American soldiers to stand up against their British overlords was verified. The rebellion would continue!

Siege of boston artillery

On this day in 1969, the world witnessed the first woman assume the top position in a democratic country, Israel. On this date, Mrs. Golda Meir would assume the position of Prime Minister of Israel and lead the country through some turbulent times. She would distinguish herself in that position and take her seat among the family of nations. She was well prepared for the responsibilities to guide this small country surrounded by nations that wanted to wipe her little nation off the map. But, because of her leadership skills, they would not be able to wipe out Israel. Our country has had a pro-Israel position since the small country emerged following a United Nations resolution that established the nation within the Arab-dominated land of Palestine; Israel would become a haven for those Jews dislocated by the Nazis during World War II and SURVIVED the death camps! Hooray for Israel, and hooray for the female leadership of that feisty little nation that, like the scorpion, is small but has a big stinger.

TheJungleSinclair

In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt described for the first time the investigative journalist. These journalist, the "muckrakers," sought to reveal in the press the excesses of the "robber barons" of the day. This group included Ida M. Tarbell ("The History of Standard Oil"), Lincoln Steffens ("The Shame of Minneapolis") and Ray Stannard Baker ("The Right to Work"), simultaneously published famous works in that single issue (see Wikipedia article); Upton Sinclare (The Jungle) exposed the excessive abuses in the meat-packing industry. This group also included some of the major newspaper publishers of the day who used these stories to increase advertising and circulation revenues; included in this group of publishers were Edwin Lawrence Godkin of the New York Evening Post, Joseph Pulitzer (after whom the annual prize is named) of the New York World, and William Randolph Hearst of the San Francisco Examiner. Yellow Journalism is still alive and well, just watch your evening news!

The U.S. Navy celebrates two events in the submarine warfare department on this day during the past 100+ years. In 1898, the first practical submarine (actually the third one built) commissioned by the U.S. Navy; the USS Holland would complete its first trials on this day. In 1959, the U.S. Navy launched the USS Skate, the first of a new class of nuclear submarines that would be deployed during the Cold War. The Skate was the first to make the voyage across the Atlantic underwater and the first submarine to break through the polar ice cap at the North Pole. This submarine class was a major advance over the original Nautilus launched a few years before. It would be succeeded by the Polaris class of nuclear missile subs launched later.

USS_Skate_(SSN-578)_surfaced_in_Arctic_-_1959

NASA, in 1958, launches the Vanguard 1 solar-powered satellite, the third to be launched by the United States. This satellite is still in orbit, although no longer functional, having completed its mission years ago. It was designed to test a new launch vehicle and to test the environmental effects of space on an artificial satellite. We had moved from responding to the Soviet launch of Sputnik I in 1957 to a programmed of planned space exploration that would reach its pinnacle in the first walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 flight in 1969, just eleven years after the launch of Vanguard 1!

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1814 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Saint Patrick:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/saint_patrick.html ]

    

“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
— Saint Patrick

“I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.”
— Saint Patrick

“If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me.”
— Saint Patrick

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.”
— Saint Patrick

“The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.”
— Saint Patrick

“Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.”
— Saint Patrick

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbAfter looking back at the importance of books, it is interesting to look at the various events that have occurred on this day in history. This was the day that witnessed the publication of that great American novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. It was also a great day in the history of space travel and exploration, witnessing the launch of the first liquid-fueled rocket by Robert Goddard, the "Father of Modern Rocketry." It was also the day, thirty-five years later, that honored that pioneer in rocketry with the naming of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. It also marked the first American visit to the Soviet’s Mir Space Station by Astronaut Norman Thagard.

West Point, NY_US Military Academy

The U.S. Military Academy (West Point) was founded on this day while we also learned about the first major atrocity of the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre, led by Lt. William Calley who was convicted of murdering 22 civilians, but served less than four years for his offense; this was a miscarriage of justice! Finally, this day witnessed the announcement that Robert Kennedy would run for the U.S. Presidency only to be assassinated after winning the California primary less than three months later. This day was also marked the day that former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by members of the Red Brigades; he would be found dead 55 days later after the Italian government refused to negotiate with the kidnappers. So this was quite an eventful day…

Hester_Prynne

On this day in 1802, the U.S. Congress founded the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. This academy would be used to train potential young officers in military science. Some of the outstanding graduates included Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Armstrong Custer, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was, indeed, a watch list of our greatest generals. To set this event into a historical perspective, this academy was established just a year before Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore the western lands along the Missouri River. It was also two years before the Louisiana Purchase of lands west of the Mississippi River to the boundaries of the Spanish holdings in North America. These two events would be linked together during the settlement of those western lands following the Civil War.

On this day in 1850, that great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, published the novel, The Scarlet Letter. This novel was based upon the male-centered, religiously bigoted society of the Massachusetts Colony. It portrayed the harsh treatment of a young woman who was considered immoral and who refused to identify her companion. Ironically, but not unexpectedly, the male companion was one of the religious leaders of the colony who failed to admit to his misdeed! So much has not changed in society since then, hasn’t it?

This was a great day for the "Father of Modern Rocketry," the American physicist Robert Goddard. In 1926 he launched his first liquid-fueled rocket. This rocket technology would be used by the great German rocket scientist, Wehrner von Braun, and later American rocket scientist, especially those at the fledgling California Institute of Technology, Cal Tech. In 1961, exactly 35 years after Goddard’s first successful rocket launch, the new NASA research facility, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, was named in Goddard’s honor. Ultimately, through Goddard’s research, the development of the V-2 rocket by von Braun, and the work of the Cal Tech researchers, the United States would launch its first successful satellite in the early 1958 to recover from the embarrassment from the Soviet’s launch of Sputnik I in 1957. We started to recover from the embarrassment of the Soviet’s space first.

Kennedy_brosThis was also a day of shame on several fronts. On this day, in 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy announced that he would run for the U.S. Presidency for the Democratic Party. Less than three months later, Kennedy would be killed by the assassin Shirhan Shirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after finding out that he had won the California primary election. This was a sad day for the Kennedy family and a sad day for the American people.

Also, on this day in 1968, the worse atrocity of the Vietnam War would occur at Mỹ Lai. Several hundred unarmed civilians by a platoon of soldiers led by Lt. William Calley. The Mỹ Lai Massacre would be covered up for about a year and a half later; Calley would be convicted of killing twenty-two civilians, but would only serve less than four years. This was not justice!

On this day, in 1978, the former Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by terrorist from the Red Brigade and held for ransom. When the Italian government refused to negotiate for Moro’s release, his body was found fifty-five days later. This was the beginning of a wave of terror in Italy and other parts of Europe.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1501 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Robert F. Kennedy:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/robert_kennedy.html ]

    

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
— Robert Kennedy

“Now I can go back to being ruthless again.”
— Robert Kennedy

“One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.”
— Robert Kennedy

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”
— Robert Kennedy

“I was the seventh of nine children. When you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive.”
— Robert Kennedy

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
— Robert Kennedy

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb

Again, this day was filled with some pretty important, or at least interesting, historical event in history. One, the assassination of Julius Caesar on the steps of the theatre in Pompeii gave us the famous phrase, "Beware the Ides of March." In the past century, the 20th century, witnessed some important international activities. These included the pursuit of the Mexican leader, Pancho Villa, by General John J. Pershing just before our involvement in World War I, the abdication of Czar Nicolas II (the last Russian Emperor) under the pressures of striking workers and military troops, and the chartering of the American Legion by Congressional action to honor World War I veterans.

Columbus NM

Several events in the entertainment industry also occurred on this day. Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison opened the Broadway version of the Lerner-Lowe musical, "My Fair Lady." Actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton after their steamy affair on the set of "Night of the Iguana" filmed in Mexico; this would be their first marriage to each other. And who can forget that haunting movie, "The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola? This latter movie won the Academy Award. So, let’s get on with a little closer look at some of these events.

Again, this day was filled with some pretty important, or at least interesting, historical event in history. One, the assassination of Julius Caesar on the steps of the theatre in Pompeii gave us the famous phrase, "Beware the Ides of March." In the past century, the 20th century, witnessed some important international activities. These included the pursuit of the Mexican leader, Pancho Villa, by General John J. Pershing just before our involvement in World War I, the abdication of Czar Nicolas II (the last Russian Emperor) under the pressures of striking workers and military troops, and the chartering of the American Legion by Congressional action to honor World War I veterans.

Soldiers Outside Winter PalaceSeveral events in the entertainment industry also occurred on this day. Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison opened the Broadway version of the Lerner-Lowe musical, "My Fair Lady." Actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton after their steamy affair on the set of "Night of the Iguana" filmed in Mexico; this would be their first marriage to each other. And who can forget that haunting movie, "The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola? This latter movie won the Academy Award. So, let’s get on with a little closer look at some of these events…

On this day, in 44 B.C., the Roman Emperor for Life, Julius Caesar, was accosted by 60 Senators on the steps of the Pompeii theatre. These Senators were upset at the Imperial ambitions of Julius Caesar that the Senators feared would result in the abandonment of the Roman Republic and the Roman Senate. The Senators, led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, would take turns stabbing Caesar. This event was foretold by a seer when he told Julius Caesar to "beware the Ides of March." The Ides of March referred to the 15th day of March, May, July, and October; it referred to the 13th day of the other months on the Roman calendar. So the "Ides of March" has become an ominous day for all of us!

Three important international events happened on this day during the 20th century. In 1916, before the U.S. entered the fighting in Europe during World War I, General John J. Pershing lead an army expeditionary force chased Pancho Villa and his Mexican band into Mexico. Among his troops were George Patton, a lieutenant, who would become one of the great Generals of World War II, lead a group of Dodge autos, one of the first armored groups to fight. What triggered this "Border War?" The paramilitary forces of Pancho Villa had attacked the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Pershing’s Expedition was tasked with pursuing Villa into Mexico to eliminate him, with prejudice, and stop his raiding. It was a fight that prepared the U.S. Army for its activation and deployment to Europe in 1917 to fight in World War I.

Another international event was the end of the czar’s reign over the Russian Empire in 1917. Czar Nicholas II would abdicate and he and his family would be placed in custody by the revolutionaries. The last of the Romanov dynasty would end up executed as the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Lenin took control the country and established the first communist state. What triggered this discontent? Russia’s participation in World War I against the Germans. The Russian people, basically little more than slaves, were inducted into the army and forced to fight in the cold of the Russian winter. The Bolsheviks offered these soldiers an alternative that appealed to this underclass.

My_fair_lady_posterThe third international event took place in 1919. The Congress chartered a new veterans organization, the American Legion, at the bequest of veterans returning from World War I in Europe. Among this group of veterans was the hero of the "Fighting 69th" battle in France and future head of the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the CIA), "Wild Bill" Donovan, the "Father of American Intelligence." He was also a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The American Legion would serve the needs of the fighting men returning to civilian life after being exposed to the expanded experience of France and the horrors of war.

There were a trio of entertainment events also occurred on this day. In 1956, we witnessed the opening of the Lerner & Lowe musical, "My Fair Lady," starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison; these roles were played by Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in the movie version years later. In 1964, we witnessed actress Elizabeth Taylor marry actor Richard Burton for the first of their marriages to each other; this marriage followed their steamy romance while on the set of "Night of the Iguana" in Mexico. And, in 1972, we saw the Academy Award-winning movie of the Corleone family in "The Godfather," adapted from the book by Mario Puzo released in the theaters across the country; the movie was directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

The events of the day entertained us, warned us, and made us sad. We live in a complex world that could well heed that warning of the seer so many years ago: "Beware the Ides of March!" Let us heed that warning…

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1634 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Revolution:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/revolution.html ]

    

“Whoever finishes a revolution only halfway, digs his own grave.”
— Georg Buchner

“Revolution begins with the self, in the self.”
— Toni Cade Bambara

“We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”
— Scott Cook

“And you cannot have a socialist revolution commandeered from the top, ordered around by some omniscient leader or group of leaders.”
— Ernest Mandel

“The Framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.”
— Hugo Black

“We have confirmed something we only knew in theory, namely that revolution, in which uncontrolled and uncontrollable forces operate imperiously, is blind and destructive, grandiose and cruel.”
— Frederica Montseny

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day, March 14th, has seen some important events in the history of our country. During this primary season of the Presidential Election campaign, we hear a lot about Town Hall Meetings and Caucuses; it was on this day that the first town hall meeting was held in Boston. This day witnessed George Washington side-tracking a potential officer coup d’étate by Continental Army officers with his "Newburgh Address." It was also the day that witnessed UN forces retake Seoul during the Korean War. Eli Whitney was granted a patent for his "Cotton Engine" that made the growing of cotton profitable and ultimately triggered the Civil War to maintain access to slave labor. The FBI issued its first "10 Most Wanted" list on this day and Jack Ruby was sentenced to death for the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these events…

faneuil_hall

This day witnessed several major milestones in the history of our American democracy. In 1743, the first recorded town meeting occurred at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Interestingly, this original meeting became the opportunity for the community to become informed about issues rather than to allow the people to vote on issues of current importance as is done with the caucuses being held during this election season, especially in the Republican Party’s primary landscape. On this day, in 1783, just after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, officers of the Continental Army were ready to rebel and take over the fledgling American government over a pension dispute. As they met in Newburgh, they were ready to march on the Congress when George Washington delivered an unscheduled speech that became known as the "Newburgh Declaration." Both of these events would allow our experiment in representative government, unique in the world at that time, that would culminate in the ratification of the strong United States Constitution in 1789. There, again, Washington arose over the populace zeitgeist to insist on a democratic presidency rather than the monarchy that the colonists were used to from their European heritage.

BE030041 (RM) TMH 03/14/2011At the time that the patent for the "Cotton Engine" (Cotton Gin) was issued to Eli Whitney in 1794, the slave-based economy of the southern states was not well understood. Processing cotton, once grown and harvested, was an intensive, difficult job because of all the seeds in the cotton bolls. This was hard, handwork; not the type of work that non-slaves would do! The cotton gin enabled large amounts of cotton to be process, the seeds removed (and themselves processed into oil) and the cotton ready to spin. This made the planting of large fields of cotton economically attractive, but required slave labor to tend, given all the weeding and harvesting required. This made a slave-based economic system emerge as the key factor in the southern states. As the abolition movement in the north gained momentum, the southern states feared the spread of this non-slave economy into the south, destroying their agrarian way of life. The roots of the civil war might actually be traced back to this invention!

In 1951, the Korean War was the major event on most people’s minds. This was the first "hot" conflict in the Cold War between the democratic Western Powers and the communistic Soviet Union. Each of these major powers had their proxy states: the UN and the United States defended South Korea while the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) supported North Korea; Korea had been partitioned at the 38th parallel after World War II. This conflict seemed to carry on interminably. On this day, the US Forces, under the UN umbrella, launched Operation  Ripper in 1951. This operation would recapture the South Korean capital of Seoul for the second time. The Korean War would continue until 1953 when two major events occurred: Joseph Stalin, the hard-core dictator of the Soviet Union and developer of the communist expansion scheme, died. The second event that brought this war to a armistice was the election, in 1952, of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, leader of the Allies in Europe during World War II, was elected President. The Korean peninsula remains a hotspot in today’s world.

fbi-most-wanted-fbi_gov_1

Two major law enforcement events also occurred on this day. In 1950, J. Edgar Hoover issued the FBI’s first "10 Most Wanted" list. This list identified those fugitives from justice that were considered the greatest threat to society at any moment. It would help promote capture of the FBI’s "toughest guys" by eliciting info from the American people. The second legal event on this day occurred in 1964 when Jack Ruby was sentenced to death for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. A Texas Court of Appeal would overturn the verdict and ordered a new trial. Ruby would die of lung cancer in 1967 while awaiting his new trial.

And now a piece of trivia for the day. Who was the first president to file an income tax return? The answer is Warren G. Harding, president from 1921 to 1923. He was associated with cronies from Ohio who were corrupt; they were convicted and sent to prison! The "Teapot Dome" scandal occurred during his administration and he was known to have at least four affairs during his time in office; Clinton’s indiscretions may not be all that bad! Overall, Harding is considered to be one of the worse presidents that we have had in this country.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1745 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Jack Ruby:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jack_ruby.html ]

    

“Maybe something can be saved, something can be done.”
— Jack Ruby

“Someone had to do it. That son of a bitch killed my President.”
— Jack Ruby

“I am as innocent regarding any conspiracy as any of you gentlemen in the room.”
— Jack Ruby

“It may not be too late, whatever happens, if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me. But if I am eliminated, there won’t be any way of knowing.”
— Jack Ruby

“Jackie Kennedy was magnificent in the days and weeks immediately following her husband’s assassination. She was especially wonderful to me.”
— Pierre Salinger

“I have been used for a purpose, and there will be a certain tragic occurrence happening if you don’t take my testimony and somehow vindicate me so my people don’t suffer because of what I have done.”
— Jack Ruby

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday has witnessed some important events through the past 400 years of our country’s history. There was one very significant event, the founding of Harvard College, as the first higher educational institution in our history. There were two events in Astronomy, one in the Arizona desert, as well as attempts of two heads of state, one of which was successful — the assassination of Czar Alexander II of Russia. In the Los Angeles area, this day witnessed the failure of the St. Francis Dam; the subsequent flood killed over 450 souls and wrecked extensive destruction to property and resources for miles ‘downstream.’ On the lighter side, this day saw the creation of the iconic image of Uncle Sam by Frank Henry Bellew. So, let’s take a closer look at these events.

Harvard_yard_winter_2009j

Taking a closer look at some of these events, today is the birth of the first institution of higher education in these American colonies in 1639, only about 30 years after the first permanent colony was established here. The "new college" in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was later renamed Harvard College after the gift of half of Rev. John Harvard’s estate and his library of 400 books. Of course, Harvard University has emerged as one of the premiere academic institutions in this country. It has produced a number of U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and notable congressmen. It is the mecca for the crème de la crème for our top students. It was also the college of choice of some of our most famous dropouts (Bill Gates and Mark Zucherberg)!

This day was also significant in the field of astronomy. In 1781, Sir William Herschel thought he had discover a new comet, but instead identified the planet Uranus. More recently, in this country, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the "dwarf planet" Pluto in the far end of our solar system in 1930. Working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona fulfilled the prediction of Percival Lowell and William Pickering of a "planet X" in orbit beyond Uranus. Such is the way of science — one discovery leads to the prediction of another, but that discovery must wait for the development of the technology to observe that discovery. We saw this in the mapping of the human genome from the observations of genetic mutations by Mendel or the development of the analog or digital computer from the initial conceptualizations of Charles Babbage.

Uncle Sam Want YouThis day also found the attempt to end the reign of two world heads of state. It was successful in Russia in 1881 with the assassination of Czar Alexander II by a anti-czarist revolutionary group. This was the result of attacks on European monarchies in the aftermath of the French Revolution. In this country, Andrew Johnson, the VP who rose to the presidency following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The attempt to end the presidency of Johnson, in 1868, did not come as a result of an assassination attempt, but through the impeachment process defined in the U.S. Constitution. The radical Republican House voted Articles of Impeachment against Johnson for his anti-civil rights support of the old Southern power lords; the Senate would NOT convict him of these charges and he would complete his term in office. President Bill Clinton was the only other President against whom Articles of Impeachment were approved by the House. The Senate would also fail to convict him of those charges. Ironically, the charges of sexual misconduct brought against Clinton would have hardly raised eyebrows in Andrew Johnson’s day!

On the tragic side of things, on this day, in 1928, we would witness the St. Francis Dam in the Los Angeles foothills collapsing. This disaster would send torrents of water stored in a reservoir near to the present city of Santa Clarita (Magic Mountain); this reservoir was part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct designed by William Mulholland in the early days of the 20th century. The water released at midnight would result in the death of over 450 residents of the wash below the dam. Property damage was also extensive. We have witnessed more recently the collapse of the Baldwin Hills dam in 1963 killing five and destroying 277 homes. When will we learn? In the latter case, especially, the reservoir was built by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on an earthquake fault line!

St_Francis_Dam_crop

To end on a more positive note, this day, in 1852, witness the creation of the iconic image of Uncle Sam by a graphic artist, Frank Henry Bellew. This graphic was published in the New York Lantern newspaper. This image would be enhanced and come to represent the benevolent nature of this nation. In this day of conflict and ideological divisions within our nation, we need to think of the benevolence of our beloved country and the care and safety net provided by its programs…

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1605 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Uncle (Sam):

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/uncle.html ]

    

“It’s my firm conviction that when Uncle Sam calls, by God we go, and we do the best that we can.”
— R. Lee Ermey

“Wherever on this planet ideals of personal freedom and dignity apply, there you will find the cultural inheritance of England.”
— Karel Capek

“Right now, I’m worth a million dollars, and I owe Uncle Sam a million-and-a-half dollars, and I made a deal with him. I said, ‘Uncle Sam, I’m going to pay you 25 grand a month.’”
— Robert Blake

“Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.”
— Henry Cabot Lodge

“Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers. In the perfect stranger we perceive man himself; the image of a God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of wisdom of a mustache.”
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbWe have seen some major events on March 6th over the past two hundred years. In 1836, this day witnessed the storming of the Alamo by Santa Ana’s forces; the 163 Texian defenders were overwhelmed by the Mexican army and most defenders lost their lives. But the Battle of san Jacinto a short time later would see the Texians win their independence and establish the Republic of Texas. The rallying cry for that latter battle was “Remember the Alamo!” The state of Texas would later make the Spanish Mission in San Antonio a historic site.

Fall-of-the-alamo-gentilz_1844

Also on this day we received two life and death decisions from our court system. The first, in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the slave, Dred Scott, did not have grounds to gain freedom for himself or his family. This led to his continued enslavement and fed the fires of the abolitionists. More recently, in 1951, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg would face the court in their trial as spies for the Soviet Union. They were accused of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II. They would be convicted and executed in 1953.

A milestone in broadcasting was passed in 1981 when Walter Cronkite, the dean of evening news anchors. On this night, Cronkite who had been the anchor of The CBS Evening News for nineteen years would retire his anchor spot. Dan Rather would take over the evening anchor desk. Cronkite was remembered for his ending of each broadcast with the iconic words, “And that’s the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981.”

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 906 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Slavery:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/slavery.html ]

    

“Slavery exists. It is black in the South, and white in the North.”
— Andrew Johnson

“Since the days of slavery, if you were a good singer or dancer, it was your job to perform for the master after dinner.”
— Spike Lee

“Slavery can only be abolished by raising the character of the people who compose the nation; and that can be done only by showing them a higher one.”
— Maria W. Chapman

“Should slavery be abolished there, (and it is an event, which, from these circumstances, we may reasonably expect to be produced in time) let it be remembered, that the Quakers will have had the merit of its abolition.”
— Thomas Clarkson

“Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.”
— Pope John Paul II

“The North understand it better – they have told us for twenty years that their object was to pen up slavery within its present limits – surround it with a border of free States, and like the scorpion surrounded with fire, they will make it sting itself to death.”
— Robert Toombs

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbWow! This is a day filled with significant events. The most public of these takes place at sunrise time in a small Pennsylvania town, Punxsutawney, on Gobbler’s Knob. This is the time each year when the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from its burrow and predicts the time of the coming spring. Does it accomplish its task? Who cares — the town is covered by national TV and newspapers and brings crowds to the small town. It is big business and a tradition that was started in 1887! In addition, on this day in 1904, the beloved author of so many books that have entertained children for the last century was born. Theodor Geisel, the beloved Dr. Seuss, started life in Massachusetts and became a cartoonist. Our lives have been enriched by his many stories.

Groundhog%20Day_Varg_0

On a more historical note, on this day in 1836, Sam Houston and a group of Texians declared their independence from Mexico. After the Texians defeated General Santa Ana and the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, an independent country, the Republic of Texas, was created. A dozen years later, after Tyler signed the legislation to annex The Republic of Texas to the United States, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed to end the Mexican American War in 1848. This treaty ceded much of the Mexican territory in the southwest to the United States to give us ownership of most of the land from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. Our nation now spanned the continent.

This day in history also witnessed one of the strange oddities of the electoral process. In the 1877 presidential election, the Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, won the majority of the popular vote but lost the presidency! How could this happen? Some political back-room negotiations provided enough electoral votes for the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, to elect him the new president by one electoral vote. This was dirty politics of the worse sort, not all that different than the “hanging chad” controversy of the 2000 election.

th_chad

A couple of major human rights events have occurred on this day. In 1807, Congress passed a law that banned the importation of slaves into our country. The U.S. Constitution provided protection of the slave trade for twenty years as part of one of the compromising made to gain ratification of this new constitution. The new law took effect on January 1, 1808; this law did NOT prohibit slavery, only the importation of new slaves. On this day in 1990, President H.W. de Klerk of South Africa announced the removal of the ban against the anti-apartheid groups, like the African National Congress, and led to the release of Nelson Mandela nine days later. Mandela would become the first president of a non-segregated South Africa.

Finally, this day witnessed the flight, in 1949, of the Lucky Lady II on the completion of a record-setting non-stop flight around-the-world on a Boeing B-50 bomber. This flight took 94 hours with a crew of fourteen and four in-flight refuelings. This was a demonstration of strength to the Soviet Union and occurred one year before the start of the Korean War.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1461 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Sam Houston:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/sam_houston.html ]

    

“A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.”
— Sam Houston

“I am aware that in presenting myself as the advocate of the Indians and their rights, I shall stand very much alone.”
— Sam Houston

“I would give no thought of what the world might say of me, if I could only transmit to posterity the reputation of an honest man.”
— Sam Houston

“All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.”
— Sam Houston

“In the name of the constitution of Texas, which has been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her.”
— Sam Houston

“Remember that whatever may be said by a lady or her friends, it is not part of conduct of a gallant or generous man to take up arms against a woman.”
— Sam Houston

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday we find a number of significant events in the history of our nation. We also find a couple of major events in the personal lives of a some of our public heroes. And finally, we find a couple events of terrorism in both this country and the United Kingdom. As usual, these events provided a cascade of subsidiary events that helped to create this country as it is now. I hope that we take time on this first day of the new month to contemplate and consider the rich filigree that makes our country a unique blend of peoples, lands, and ideas.

tipislide

In terms of our national history, this day in 1781 found the Articles of Confederation become the first constitution of the new nation forged out of the thirteen American colonies following the Revolutionary War. But the real story is the rich land in which these original colonies, now states, would become a nation of fifty states ranging from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and include the frozen north of Alaska and Pacific paradise of Hawaii. Jefferson started this process with the Louisiana Purchase, but continued to the annexation of the Republic of Texas to the United States in 1845. President Tyler did not acquire this land through treaty, like most of the rest of the west, but through annexation; this did not recognize the right of the Texans to claim that they were legally an independent entity!

This process continued as these lands were explored during the latter part of the 19th century. As the natural beauty of this land became apparent. There was Yellowstone with its geysers, deep canyons, and wildlife. There was the Yosemite Valley in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains in California with its waterfalls and great natural beauty. And, of course, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in the Arizona Territory. These natural wonders would be desecrated like the natural wonders of Niagara Falls had been if not protected. This protection was afforded in 1872 by the Yellowstone Act of 1872 signed on this day by President Ulysses S. Grant that would protect the natural wonder that was Yellowstone.

This protection was continued during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt who used his power to designate National Monuments to protect some of the other wonders of the west. This was used to protect the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and various Indian relics throughout the west. And, of course, these protections were formalized in 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the law that created the National Parks Service. This agency would help protect wild and scenic regions across this great land of ours. Without this protection, we would not be able to look forward to vacations to see these examples of “eye-candy” on our family vacations!

EagleRock

Other significant events on this day included the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy by executive order, the kidnapping of the infant son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh in 1932, and the retirement of Baseball great Mickey Mantle from the New York Yankees in 1969. These events affected us in various ways. The Peace Corps provided an alternative to the “Ugly American” image of many post-war interactions with the third world nation while at the same time providing our young people with an unprecedented opportunity to serve their nation. From this experience, we have reaped many educators, businessmen, and others dedicated to the service of others. The Lindbergh case, the “Crime of the Century,” resulted in a number of laws designed to protect our population, albeit at the expense of the right of many immigrant groups. And we again realized the role of sports heroes in our national life. Mickey Mantle was the personification of the baseball hero who was, indeed, a nice guy. We need more of his kind in our present day atmosphere of greed exhibited by many of our present sports stars.  

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1382 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Texas:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/texas.html ]

    

“Calling a taxi in Texas is like calling a rabbi in Iraq.”
— Fran Lebowitz

“But I’m a citizen of Texas and try to spend most of my time there.”
— Thomas Haden Church

“I got beat up up in Texas because my bootlaces were the wrong color.”
— Fairuza Balk

“After I left Texas and went to California, I had a hard time getting anyone to play anything that I was writing, so I had to end up playing them myself. And that’s how I ended up just being a saxophone player.”
— Ornette Coleman

“According to a study by Achieve Incorporated, Texas is the first state to make a college-prep curriculum the standard coursework in high school, starting with this year’s ninth grade class.”
— Rick Perry

“All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.”
— Sam Houston

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day, February 29th, has witnessed many significant events even though is occurs only once every four years. Several important political events have transpired on this day, including the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 17943 to end the resolve outstanding issues with Britain; this treaty was negotiated by a team led by John Jay who would go on to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Also on this day, in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed a committee to study the building of the Panama Canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Isthmus of Panama. During the 1960 Presidential Election campaign, Senator John F. Kennedy on this day in 1960 made the “Missile Gap” a campaign issue with the sitting Vice President, Richard Nixon.

HMS_Beagle_by_Conrad_Martens

This was also a day that saw Charles Darwin and the crew of the HMS Beagle in Bahia, Brazil; Darwin would continue exploring the flora and fauna of the nearby jungles. These observations were added to those taken on the Galápagos Islands and helped Darwin form his theory of evolution.

Also on this day in 1940, entertainment history was made. At the Academy Awards ceremony, not only would Gone with the Wind be honored as the Best Picture of the Year, and several of its stars earning their own Oscars, this night would witness the first Oscar awarded to an African American actress, Hattie McDaniel for her performance as the housemaid Mammy; Hattie and her escort were seated at a segregated table in the back of the room. Segregation was still alive and well at this late date!

Even in Major League Baseball there existed prejudice against the African Americans. On this day in 1972, Slugger Henry “Hank” Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record. As he approached this record, Aaron was the recipient of numerous death threats at the thought of a Black player eclipsing the feat performed by the iconic star, Babe Ruth. He was not attacked after breaking this record, fortunately.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1160 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Charles Darwin:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/charles_darwin.html ]

    

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
— Charles Darwin

“A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections – a mere heart of stone.”
— Charles Darwin

“I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.”
— Charles Darwin

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.”
— Charles Darwin

“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”
— Charles Darwin

“I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.”
— Charles Darwin

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day was a day of explorations. After the discovery of gold in California in 1948, the world witnessed a massive invasion of men from around the world attempting to find their claim on part of this treasure; these Forty-Niners used whatever transport that was available to reach San Francisco which became a large city almost overnight. We also reacted in awe in 1953 as two British scientists, Watson and Crick, discovered the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule that is the basis of life; they were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery. This day also witnessed the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Airman 1st Class John Levitow in 1969; he was the first Vietnam-era airman to be honored with this award.

Crick

This day also witnessed FDR appointing a woman, Francis Perkins, as Secretary of Labor making her the first woman to serve on the President’s cabinet in 1933. On a sadder note, we watched with horror as the ATF/FBI raid on the Waco, Texas, compound of the Branch Davidian cult in 1993; as the TV camera crews covered the event, fire swept through the compound killing all the members inside.

After watching the men and women of the 4077th Field Hospital play out their sub-dramas and treating the casualties of the Korean War, in 1983 we witnessed the final episode of the TV show, M*A*S*H; the final episode was “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” and was watched by the largest audience until the most recent Super Bowls. It was a night of television history.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 889 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to DNA:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/dna.html ]

    

“If you can write DNA, you’re no longer limited to ‘what is’ but to what you could make.”
— Drew Endy

“The O.J. Simpson case, they had no understanding of that DNA evidence, and didn’t want to.”
— Joseph Wambaugh

“It was very interesting for me because DNA made music without much technical knowledge at all.”
— Arto Lindsay

“He told me that Francis Crick and Jim Watson had solved the structure of DNA, so we decided to go across to Cambridge to see it. This was in April of 1953.”
— Sydney Brenner

“Diversity has been written into the DNA of American life; any institution that lacks a rainbow array has come to seem diminished, if not diseased.”
— Joe Klein

continue reading…